arren's House Rules for D&D 3.5 Edition

The following rule changes supercede the published rules. The Dungeon Master reserves the right to flagrantly alter, add, or flaunt other published rules at will. If you see anything here doesn't look right, or if it's out of date, please mail me!


  • We use the point-based system for determining abilities. All abilities begin at 8, and a total of 32 points may be spent to raise abilities:
    Ability score Point cost
    8 0
    9 1
    10 2
    11 3
    12 4
    13 5
    14 6
    15 8
    16 10
    17 13
    18 16

Hit points

  • first dice = full
  • remaining dice (including 2nd 1st level dice if any) = 2/3 of total max. value to level

Armor changes

  • buckler: adds 1 to AC but only for 1st attack in a round, weighs 4lbs, can use with bow or offhand weapon at -1 to hit, -1 armor check, -10% arcane spell failure
  • small shield (18" diameter, wood or metal): +1 AC, -1 armor check, 6lbs, can carry item in hand but not fight, -25% arcane spell failure
  • medium shield (24" diameter round or smallish heater): +2 AC, -2 armor check, 8 lbs, -30% arcane spell failure
  • large shield (32" diameter round or typical heater): +3 AC, 12 lbs, -3 armor check, -35% arcane spell failure
  • tower/kite shield, scutum (48" tall): +4 AC, 20 lbs, -5 armor check, -50% arcane spell failure
  • pavise: provides 50% cover if fighting behind, 100% if hiding defensively, may be specifically targetted and has 20hp, hardness 3
  • armor no longer has helm by default
  • small helmet: +1 helmet bonus to AC, 4lbs, and adds a reflex check against head criticals (if made, the critical is rerolled, not ignored). Adds 4 pounds of weight, and gives a -4 to listen checks, 20% arcane spell failure. Helm bonuses stack with armor bonuses, but enhancement bonuses don't (if you have +1 armor and a +1 helm that's only +1 total).
  • full helm: +2 helmet bonus to AC, 8lbs, +4 reflex check against face/head criticals, -2 armor check, -8 to spot/listen/search/etc, 60% arcane spell failure


  • "grey elves" -1 str, +1 int
  • "wood elves" +1 dex, -1 con
  • halflings: max. strength = 14
  • gnomes: -2 str, +1 dex, +1 int, max. strength = 14
  • dwarves +2 con, -1 chr, -1 dex


  • clerics, necromancers and paladins. have Knowledge (Undead) as a class skill, rather than as a cross-class skill.
  • Rangers: # and levels of spells available as per 1st ed. D&D; if Undead chosen as favored enemy, the ranger gains the ability to hit undead critically.


  • Forbidden classes include: any evil class, Frenzied Berserker, Lasher, Geomancer, Oozemaster
  • All players wishing to pursue a prestige class must be clear it with the DM first.


  • 100 RP to advance to levels up to and including 9th. 200RP for levels 10...19. 300RP up to 29th, etc.
  • 100 RP for completed adventure
  • up to 25RP bonus for playing in character
  • 15RP bonus voted by other characters for best roleplaying or achievement. Blind vote, winning player not eligible for next session
  • missing players' characters sit out the adventure, unless it's a continuation. In that case, they may choose another player to run their character - or else it's DM's pick

Life and Death

  • Should a character die, and a subsequent attempt be made to raise dead, ressurect, etc., there is a base 25% chance of failure, in which event the character is irretrievably dead. This chance may be improved by Fortitude and Great Fortitude modifiers (others may be counted as well, at the discretion of the DM), but the total modifiers may never exceed +10%. Death is a high-risk activity.
  • If a character manages to return to life, they are in an extremely weakened state. They return with 4 less points of constitution than when they died. Each day, a fortitude save of difficulty 15 may be attempted to regain one of the first three points. The last point is never regained.

Critical Hits

Critical damage is per standard rules. However, if a critical hit occurs, a third attack roll determines if there is an effect beyond damage. If it succeeds, the additional result is determined from a d20 roll (plus the attacker's attack bonus, minus the defender's AC) on the table below. Each result requires a roll; if it is an action such as tripping that has a standard mechanism, that is used to determine whether it succeds... otherwise the attacker must win an opposed attack roll.

Roll Result (attacker may opt for any lower result)
0 or lower dazed for d4 rounds
1-2 free trip opportunity
3-5 free disarm opportunity
6-7 free weapon sunder opportunity
8-9 stunned for d4 rounds
10 hamstring: unable to stand until 20hp damage healed
11-12 sever/crush leg
13-14 sever/crush arm
15 blind in one eye
16 blind in both eyes
17 gut wound: d4 damage per round for 20 rounds, or until 20hp damage healed
18 unconscious for d4 rounds
19 slit/crush throat: death in 4 rounds unless 40hp damage healed
20 decapitate/crush skull: instant death


Any natural roll of a 1 results in a potential fumble, determined by rolling d20 against table below. Character may add up to their dex mod if they prefer a higher result on the table. If a given fumble does not make sense, use the next higher fumble instead. If a fumble occurs in a situation where a specific fumble is most likely (shooting a bow into a crowd, fighting on a frozen lake, etc.) the DM will announce the "probable fumble", and there is a 50% chance that fumble will occur. If it doesn't, the table is used in the standard mode.

2 or below Hit self. Must roll successfully to hit own AC (ignoring dex & shield).
3-4 Hit other party member (if in range). Must roll to hit their AC (ignoring dex & shield). If multiple members in range, one closest to target is struck. If not clear, choose one randomly.
5 Damage weapon. Non-magic weapons are damaged 50%, destroyed 50%. Damaged weapons are -1 to hit, -1 damage, and destroyed if damaged again before repair. Magic weapons are not affected.
6-8 Throw weapon. (d20 + 3 * str mod) feet in random direction. Must move to weapon and take partial action to recover.
9 Trip and fall. End up prone, takes partial action to recover.
10-12 Drop weapon. Lands at feet, takes partial action to recover.
13 Lose concentration: initiative drops to 1 next round; no more attacks this round. If already at 1, skip next round and reroll initiative for following rounds.
14 Momentary loss of concentration: initiative drops by d6 next round; no more attacks this round.
15+ Recovered and avoided fumble.

  • thrust, pierce = 1/2
  • slash = 2/3
  • crush = full
  • fire = 1/2 for magical fire, none for normal
  • cold = none

Fleshy undead

  • thrust, pierce = 1/2
  • crush = 2/3
  • slash = full
  • fire = full
  • cold = 1/2


  • + str mod
  • "neutral bouyancy" items count at 1/4 weight
  • "positive bouyancy" floatation devices add: +1 for small, +3 for med, +5 for large
  • encumbrance mod based on size (give effective +1 str for every 30# over 100, -1 for every 20# under) where in range (light: -0 to -5, med: -6 to -10, heavy: -11 to -15)


  • Crushing weapons don't work
  • Thrusting weapons work normally
  • Slashing weapons are -3 to hit, 50% damage (unless suitable for thrusting, in which case -1 to hit, -25% damage)
  • In general -2 to hit
  • Bows don't work, xbows do but 1/2 damage, 1/4 range
  • opposed check vs. opponent's reflex
  • check once per opponent, +1 to DC each time
Travel devotion
  • only lasts 1 round
  • allows full attack

ack to the Age of Hope